4- The Helpers
When they reached
they spoke of the apostle of Allah and invited their people to accept
Islam, so that acquaintance with it spread until there was not one among
the dwellings of all their families in which the name of the apostle of
Allah had not been spoken. The converts in
became known as the Helpers.
The next year [AD 621], when the season of pilgrimage
came again, twelve men of the Helpers met the apostle at the hill of al-Aqaba;
this is called the meeting of 'the first hill'. 'We paid homage to the
apostle of Allah after the unmilitant manner of women - this happened
before war was made incumbent upon us. We pledged that we should not
associate other gods with Allah, nor steal, nor commit fornication, nor
kill our female children, nor tell lies, nor disobey what was right. If we
fulfil these conditions paradise is to be ours; if we transgress and
suffer punishment in this world, it will be an expiation; but if our sin
remains concealed till the day of resurrection, the affair rests with
Allah to punnish or forgive.'
When the men left, the
apostle of Allah sent Musab with them to read the Koran to them, to teach
them Islam, and to give them.
instruction in religion;
therefore Musab was known in
, as 'The Reader'.
One day Musab went out with
Asad, one of the Helpers of 'the first hill', and they entered an orchard
and sat down near a well called Maraq, where several men who had made
profession of Islam gathered around them. The princes of the Banu
Abdul‑Ashhal at that time were Sad b. Muadh, a cousin of Asad, and
Usayd b. Hudayr, both of them idolaters like the rest of their people.
They heard of the arrival of Asad and Musab, and Sad said to Usayd, 'Go to
these two men who have come here to fool the weakminded among our people!
Drive them away and forbid them to approach our dwellings. If Asad were
not one of my kinsmen, I would have spared you this errand, but he is my
cousin and I prefer to avoid him on this subject.' Accordingly Usayd took
a sword and went to them; and when Asad saw him he said to Musab, 'This is
the prince of his tribe. Show him the truth of Allah!' Musab replied, 'If
he sits down I shall speak to him.' But Usayd remained standing in front
of them, casting insults, saying, 'What has brought you here? Will you
mislead the weakminded among our people? Leave us if you value your
lives!' Musab replied, 'Sit down and listen; and if you are pleased with
what you hear, accept it, but if you are displeased, that will put an end
to the matter!' Saying, 'You have spoken well', and planting his sword in
the ground, Usayd sat down, and Musab told him of Islam and recited the
Koran. Then Usayd exclaimed, 'How beautiful and wonderful this is! What
must one do to enter into this religion?' He was told, 'Wash yourself and
purify your garments, then make profession of the truth, and pray.'
Accordingly he rose, washed himself, purified his garments, made
profession of the truth, and then prayed with two prayer flexions.
After that, Usayd said,
'Behind me there is another man. If he were to follow you, not one of his
tribe would fail to do the same. I shall send him to you now. His name is
Sad.' Then he took his sword and departed to Sad and his tribe, who were
sitting in their assembly; when Sad saw him, he exclaimed, 'Usayd returns
with a different countenance from that he departed with.
What have you done, Usayd?'
He replied, I conversed with the two men, and I have seen no evil in them.
I told them they must not stay and they said, "Do what you
Sad jumped up angrily and
snatched the sword from Usayd's hand saying, 'By Allah! I think you have
done nothing worth doing.” But when he approached the two men he
realised that Usayd had merely enticed him there to hear what they had to
say, so he stopped short and began to insult them. He said 'If we were not
kinsmen, you would not have dared to insult us in our own homes.' Musab
replied as he had done to At last, Sad asked, 'How does one make
profession of Islam and enter into this religion.?' Musab and Asad told
him, and he rose, washed himself, purified his garments, made profession
of the truth, prayed on his knees, took up his sword and I with altered
countenance to his people. He asked them, ‘What is my position among
you?.' and they replied, 'You are our prince most loved, the most wise,
and the most beneficent among us !’ He continued, 'It will not now be
right for me to Any of you until you believe in Allah, and in his
Thus, that evening, there
was not a man nor a woman in the tribe who had not made profession of
Then Assad and Musab
returned to their place and remained there, inviting the people to Islam
till not a dwelling among all the tribes of the Helpers remained which did
not include Muslim men and women, except only those few groups whose poet
and leader was Sayfi. He was obeyed and followed by them and he kept them
away from Islam until the apostle of Allah himself emigrated to
, and until the battles of Badr, Uhud, and the Ditch had been fought.
While Musab and the
converts ‑ the Helpers (or Ansar)
–were having considerable success at
, the apostle in
fared no better than before. It was a period of waiting and watching.
Muhammad looked more and more
and the north. The next vital part of the legend ‑ the 'night
journey and ascension to heaven' ‑further reflects the way in which
his creed, even in the twelfth year of his mission, remained associated in
his mind with Jewish and Christian doctrine: he still regarded the Jews
and Christians as possible allies against the idolaters.
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